Hiking Tuscany and the Cinque Terre

  • Itinerary Summary

    The terraced, seaside villages of the Cinque Terre and western Tuscany offer some of the best hiking and sightseeing in all of Italy. We start this tour with three days near the medieval art city of Lucca, where we explore olive orchards and vineyards. Then we're off for a day of walking in Pisa near the Leaning Tower. We finish with five days of hiking among the villages of the Cinque Terre. This rugged stretch of coast is one of the most picturesque in Europe and combines seafaring with traditional Mediterranean agriculture and food.
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    1. Day 1: Tour begins in Lucca, Italy

      Highlights: Western Tuscany, Puccini's Caffé de Simo, introductory dinner

      Arrive this afternoon at our hotel in Lucca, where your tour leaders will greet you and suggest an orientation walk around town. We'll gather for a glass of wine this evening in the historical Caffé De Simo, where Puccini would meet with friends. Dinner tonight is at one of our favorite Tuscan restaurants.

    2. Day 2: Walking in Lucca & Pisa

      Highlights: Guided walking tour of Lucca, Leaning Tower of Pisa

      After breakfast in our hotel, we'll walk to the top of Lucca's Guinigi Tower for an introduction to this fascinating city. From the tower, you can see the grid pattern of the ancient Roman city plan, the dominance of its late medieval churches, and the great ring of its 17th-century wall, still perfectly preserved and encircling the city. After lunch, we will head to Pisa for an afternoon of walking and sightseeing near the Leaning Tower and the city's other historic sights. Dinner is on your own this evening. Today's walk: 2-4 hours.

    3. Day 3: Hike to Torre del Lago

      Highlights: Lake Massaciuccoli, olive orchards and vineyards

      We shuttle into the hills west of Lucca today for a hike through olive orchards and vineyards. We'll reach Lake Massaciuccoli and have lunch together at a local trattoria. In the afternoon we'll visit the famous village of Torre del Lago where Puccini composed most of his operas. Dinner is on your own this evening. Today's hike: 2.5 hours.

    4. Day 4: Entering Italy's Cinque Terre - Monterosso al Mare

      Highlights: Cinque Terre hiking, views from Punta del Mesco

      We shuttle today to the Cinque Terre. Our luggage will go to our hotel in Monterosso al Mare while we go to Levanto and hike from there. It is a three-hour hike through pine forests to Punta del Mesco, where we'll enjoy a sweeping view of the Cinque Terre villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. We'll be in Monterosso this evening and enjoy dinner together. Today's hike: 4 hours.

    5. Day 5: Vernazza & Corniglia

      Highlights: Cinque Terre villages of Vernazza and Corniglia, private tasting in local wine cellar

      We'll take time to explore Monterosso this morning before heading off for a two-hour hike to Vernazza. After lunch on your own, we continue on to Corniglia. If you are a photographer or painter, you'll want to take time to enjoy these scenic coastal villages. We'll suggest a different route back to our hotel if you want to hike, but most of the group will plan to catch the train back. We have a special event planned before dinner - a visit to a local wine cellar in the heart of town, where we'll sample some of the region's best wines. Dinner is on your own this evening. Today's hike: 3.5 hours.

    6. Day 6: Manarola & Riomaggiore

      Highlights: Cinque Terre villages of Manarola and Riomaggiore

      Explore Monterosso this morning, then we'll catch the train to Corniglia and hike south to Manarola. We'll have lunch together there and continue our hike to the most southern of the Cinque Terre villages, Riomaggiore. You'll know all of the Cinque Terre towns by now, so you can choose which you want to explore further this afternoon. (Maybe some wine tasting in the local wineries?) Your transit pass allows you to get on and off the train at your leisure. Today's hike: 3 hours plus any additional you choose.

    7. Day 7: Hike & Boat Ride along the Italian Riviera

      Highlights: Castle of Portovenere, afternoon boat ride, farewell dinner

      We've been working up to this day. We jump the train back to Riomaggiore, where we'll climb the ridge separating the Cinque Terre from La Spezia. We wind through terraced vineyards and pass by churches perched on promontories overlooking the sea. After a 2-hour climb, we reach the ridge; there is a trattoria here for lunch or great spots for a picnic amid the pine trees. Our trail heads south from here, with spectacular views over the Gulf of La Spezia and the Ligurian Sea. By mid-afternoon we'll begin our descent into the castle of Portovenere, a fascinating town at the entrance to the Gulf of La Spezia. Take time to enjoy the village before we catch a boat along the coast back to Monterosso. Tonight, we'll have a grand final dinner together. Today's hike: 5-6 hours.

    8. Day 8: Tour ends in Monterosso al Mare, Italy


      Our hiking tour through western Tuscany and the Cinque Terre ends after breakfast this morning, but we'll offer suggestions if you want to see more of Italy afoot. And we hope to see you again, perhaps in Greece or some other fascinating place.

    • Highlights

      Villages of the Italian Riviera, Lucca, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Hike coastal cliffs, olive groves and vineyards
    • Includes

      8 days, 7 nights accommodation, 3 dinners with wine, 2 lunches, all breakfasts, & a 3-day train and trail pass plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Lucca/Monterosso al Mare
    • Arrive/Depart

      Pisa, Florence
    • Total Distance

    • Daily Distance

      2 1/2 to 6 hours daily
    • Rating

    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Cristina, our formal guide was awesome! And the local guides that were there to assist us were also very good, and quite knowledgeable about the flora of Cinque Terra.

      Joan S.
      Hailey, ID
    • [My favorite experience was ] very hard to isolate. Countryside was so gorgeous, your guides were excellent as was the food and the hotels. Perhaps accomplishing the last day's hike in pretty good condition made us quite happy and proud. We were the oldest members of the group.

      Irene G.
      Winnipeg, MB Canada
    • The guides were excellent tour leaders. I didn't eat breakfast often. The guide in Lucca was one of the best I've experienced ... [ My favorite experience on tour was ] in addition to visiting Lucca, hiking in the Cinque Terre ... I really enjoyed this tour and its leaders ... Your organization is top rate.

      Ed E.
      Denver, CO
    • Meals were superb - you tried to tell us, but we were still surprised and enormously pleased. That first dinner together in Lucca was a real educational experience - we appreciated having so many traditional foods. Thank you!

      Don & Judy M.
      Los Alamos, NM
    • We found our guides unfailingly cheerful, enthusiastic, and responsive. It would be a pleasure to travel with any or all of them again.

      Maureen & Harvey S.
      Lakewood, CO

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